After sleeping through the worst part of the hurricane last night, I woke this morning to the Washington Post reporting that disaster relief will have to be pulled from the Midwest to handle the East Coast hurricane problems.
"With less than $1 billion currently available for federal disaster assistance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is temporarily suspending payments to rebuild roads, schools and other structures destroyed during spring tornadoes in Joplin, Mo. and southern states in order to pay for damage caused by Hurricane Irene."
In the most recent budget negotiations the White House and lawmakers agreed on roughly $38 billion in cuts to federal spending to departments and agencies.
The Republican Chair of the House Appropriations Committee blames the need for moving funding around from Joplin and the Midwest to the east cost on the President's cuts in FEMA.
"On Saturday, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) urged the Senate to quickly approve the House GOP version of the annual Homeland Security spending measure that includes $1 billion for additional disaster funding this year and $2.65 billion for fiscal 2012.
"Time and time again, the [Obama] administration has ignored the obvious funding needs of the Disaster Relief Fund, purposefully and irresponsibly underfunding the account and putting families and communities who have suffered from terrible disasters on the back burner," Rogers said. "Now the administration has let the fund reach critically low levels, putting continued recovery at risk, without a plan for the future or a clear method for dealing with new disasters."
The House Appropriations Committee details some of the $38B cuts in this PDF including
"reduces FEMA first responder grants by $786 million, eliminates $264 million in funding that was previously targeted to earmarks, and rescinds $557 million in unobligated and lapsed balances from prior year funds."
These were cuts approved by Chairman Rogers own committee that he's blaming on the President. The Continuing Resolution set to maintain our country until we were able to pass an actual budget was passed earlier this year. According to Chairman Rogers's own Committee Summary of the bill the CR also reports (emphasis mine)
"The National Weather Service, of course, is part of NOAA -- its funding drops by $126 million. The CR also reduces funding for FEMA management by $24.3 million off of the FY2010 budget, and reduces that appropriation by $783.3 million for FEMA state and local programs."
In that same WaPo piece tea party Republican Rep. Eric Cantor says that they will get the money needed for FEMA from other places. I guess he means the needs for the east cost are going to come from Joplin. Cantor was also caught with his tea party cuts around his knees earlier this week when the Virginia earthquake hit it was also discovered that Cantor was holding disaster aid for earthquakes hostage unless there were other spending cuts.
In related news the New York Times reported a few weeks ago the disapproval rating for the tea party has doubled since last year to 40 percent.